DHS Proposes Reforms to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an announcement proposing two new rules aimed at attracting and retaining highly skilled workers. Comments on the proposed rules are due by July 11, 2014.

Rule #1 (Extend employment authorization to spouses of certain H-1B workers)

The first rule would grant employment authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B holders.

Eligible individuals would include H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B workers who:
• Are the beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or • Have been granted an extension of their authorized period of stay in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21) as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. AC21 permits H-1B workers seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit.
The existing immigration laws do not allow the spouses of H1B nonimmigrants to work.

Rule #2 (Remove obstacles impacting E-3, H-1B1, and CW-1 workers)

The second rule would enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled and transitional workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States.
This change would also expand the types of evidence outstanding professors and researchers could submit for purposes of establishing eligibility for the EB1 preference category.

MVP Law Group agrees with AILA President Doug Stump that these rule changes are helpful; however, it remains incumbent on Congress to act to fix our laws so that these small measures are not necessary. For more detailed information, please read the DHS Press Release, “DHS Announces Proposals to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants” and the other articles listed below.

Source of Information:

DHS.gov, 5/6/14, Press Release:
DHS Announces Proposals to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants

USAToday.com, 5/6/14, News Article:
Obama to ease rules for foreign high-skilled workers

AILA.org, 5/6/14, AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14050651:
AILA: Proposed Reforms to Highly Skilled Visa Rules Will Help